Barbados remains free of coronavirus after health authorities’ tests ruled it out as a cause of a quarantined patient’s high fever, they disclosed tonight.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement that the patient tested negative for the COVID-19 strain which has killed more than 1,100 people among nearly 45,000 infected people, mostly in China.
And so far 12 other people currently being monitored in their homes also show no signs of the disease, it added.
“Public health personnel visited the patient and took a sample which was tested by the laboratory, and it proved to be negative for the virus, “ the statement said.
People entering Barbados have been screened since the outbreak of the contagious respiratory illness in Wuhan, the capital of China’s heartland province last December.
The Ministry of Health said: “13 remain in quarantine, others have completed their 14 days of quarantine, or have departed the island, including some who were in transit.”
In a related development, the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory on Martindale’s Road can now carry out definitive testing for COVID-19 after receiving testing kits and technical assistance from the Pan American Health Organization, according to the ministry.
An Emergency Operations Centre has also been activated. It meets daily to collate all available information and respond accordingly, it said.
On Tuesday, Parliament approved $1.18 million to prepare the St Lucy District Hospital as a quarantine facility and buy beds and medical supplies, among other things.
There have only been two deaths from COVID-19 outside mainland China — one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines — with 393 confirmed cases in 24 countries, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The number of infected people reaching 44,653 cases throughout China with more than 30,000 alone reported in Hubei.